Yukon First Nations Celebrating Success – Sharing Our Stories

Kwanlin Dun First Nation and Ta’an Kwäch’än Territory (Whitehorse, Yukon) – The Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) congratulates the Yukon First Nation Culture and Tourism Association for the success of their Aboriginal tourism conference held this past week in Whitehorse, Yukon at the Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre. The conference entitled “Sharing Our Stories” brought together approximately 200 delegates from 14 First Nation communities in the Yukon, Yukon Government, tourism industry partners, and several Aboriginal tourism business leaders. A number of the delegates also attended from other locations such as the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, British Columbia and Alaska.

The conference focus “Sharing our Stories” was reinforced with presentations from several Yukon Aboriginal operators and how their culture was building tourism. Highlights included World Indigenous Tourism Alliance Mr. Ben Sherman who provided international context on Indigenous/Aboriginal tourism globally and the important values the industry needs to respect and understand. Special guest Hone Mihaka with Taimamai Tours from New Zealand shared his success over the past 14 years in indigenous cultural tourism and the how his business is thriving in New Zealand today. ITAC Chair and CEO Keith Henry presented the national research on the economic value of Aboriginal tourism in Canada with specific insight into the Yukon and the importance of future strategies to ensure business success while maintaining cultural integrity in an authentic way.

“This conference was a complete success. The attendance was strong and included key stakeholders from industry,” says ITAC Chair/CEO Keith Henry. “The support and inspiration for the Aboriginal tourism businesses was evident. Moreover, the attendance by partners, such as the Yukon Government and specifically Deputy Premier and Minister for Tourism and Culture Elaine Taylor was excellent. Her comments to delegates reinforced the important role their government has in the development and marketing and development of Aboriginal tourism in the Yukon. Her attendance and meaningful engagement was important and noted by many delegates and I acknowledge and thank her.”

ITAC Chair/CEO added, “Thank you to the Yukon First Nations Culture and Tourism Association board and Executive Director Charlene Alexander for the warm reception and participation of ITAC. ITAC works throughout Canada to enhance marketing, experience development and training that meets the unique Provincial and Territorial Aboriginal industry needs. The Yukon Aboriginal tourism experiences are quite developed and there is potential to increase tourism visitors from key markets for Yukon in the future. However, to execute on the potential I have encouraged partners to consider strategic planning on a timely basis to build from the success of this conference.”

ITAC Chair/CEO Henry concluded, “This conference was inspiring and there has been commitments reinforced by partners for tangible next steps to continue building Aboriginal tourism in the Yukon. Aboriginal tourism in the Yukon is important for the entire tourism industry and will grow overall tourism revenues for the Territory if planned and executed properly. ITAC will be there to support our partners Yukon First Nations Culture and Tourism Association, Government, and Industry to realize this achievable vision. I am leaving motivated and after having attended many similar conference throughout the world, this was one of the best.”

For more information about the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada go to www.IndigenousTourism.ca. To review featured Aboriginal tourism experiences on the website go to https://indigenoustourism.ca/en/regions/yukon/.

About the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada:

Originally formed as the Aboriginal Tourism Marketing Circle, in 2015 the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) was formally established as a national non-profit Aboriginal tourism industry organization. Today ITAC includes representation from 15 Aboriginal tourism industry representatives and organizations. Through a unified Aboriginal tourism industry voice, ITAC focuses on creating partnerships between associations, organizations, government departments and industry leaders from across Canada to support the growth of Aboriginal tourism in Canada.


Media contact:

Brian Cant, Tartan Group: 250-592-3838, 250-888-8729 (cell) or brian@tartangroup.ca

Keith Henry, Chair, ITAC: 778-388-5013 or k.henry@aboriginalcanada.ca

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